New Generations

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As a continuation from my previous article, here are some thoughts about things that you CAN expect when SHTF. One more reason for writing this is in response to fact that people say that I write a lot about what is NOT gonna be like when SHTF. So here are some points to balance that.

These are my observations from my surroundings here, but I also see and hear this type of thing happening in many places. The clearest example right now is the ‘protestors’ taking to the streets after the recent US election…

 “Our generation is better prepared for a zombie apocalypse than an hour without electricity”

I know that every generation looks at the youngsters that come after them as being ‘weaker’ and  ‘softer’ than themselves, so a 90 year old man with lots of real life experience may look at me like I am some kind of wimp, because my childhood was spent with pinball, video games on Commodore computer and Rambo movies on VCR, while he maybe was growing up without electricity, without TV , playing with sticks etc.

I may find myself in similar loop, because I was in the middle of the war searching for shelter and food when I was young man, while young men today find themselves in the middle of reasons for living in rare and beautiful places ‘avoiding’ wireless connections, and searching for best selfie shot…

Here in my region for last few months, elections were completed. I believe , when confrontation between parties and candidates gets more heated terminology and stories get less logical but more hard and provoking. (And this is almost the same everywhere I feel)

Suddenly there is more talk about how a candidate looks, or about their sex life or similar, instead of discussion about their political agenda, solutions for destroyed economy, or how to stop young folks from emigrating from this crazy region.

Here that means that hate and anger being used political campaign at all sides, which brings old war stories back and stories about new war.

And of course there are whole bunch of young folks who do not have clue about what war looks like, but they like the “drums call to war”, stories about patriotism, sacrifices for the “tribe”.

In short-there are lot of young folks who see possible war as a something romantic, something “high” and noble.

There was lot of same young folks just before my SHTF time, clueless folks who do not know too much about violence and what that brings… I was one of them.

I lost all illusions from my youth pretty fast when people start  to die around me, so words like noble, honor, death and life , friendship gets new meaning or you discover their real meaning.

Point of all above is that today when SHTF it is going to be quite different then 25 years ago, because things changed, even here where time goes kinda slower.

Let s check few things about young folks today, with possibility that I my sound like “grumpy old man” which I am not, at least I am not old 😉

 

How things work, or differences between generations

70 years before

My grandparents grew up in home without electricity, in rural settings. They owned cattle, sheep, and chicken. They grew all their food, they grown their own tobacco.

Trip to doctor was not so often a thing, from few reasons: they were healthier, they did not seek medical attention for every nonsense, they had they own herbal medicines, and yes physician was pretty far and pretty luxurious item.

They had weapons, because weapons were part of their everyday life. They hunted.

When WW2 started my ancestor was in resistance movement “in the woods”.

His stories years later were like fairy stories to me, stories about endless walking  and fighting trough the encirclement’s of German forces. Stories about bayonet fighting because of no ammo.

Freezing in the deep snow in the woods because they could not start fire, and how they cut off black frozen fingers with knives, how enemy did not take prisoners…

He suffered PTSD until the day he died, he become heavy drinker. He survived WW2 but I think he kept most interesting and most horrified stories about survival to himself.

He kept hidden (in the ground) a German machine gun for 40 years after the War ended, and had an illegal German Luger pistol on him until he died, even though that was highly “punishable” by the system in that time.

He did not hate Germans, but also did not want to watch German movies, or hear German language anymore.

30 years before

When I was kid, maybe 7-8 years old, my father started to take me to fishing. Nothing big, simple small fish catching. We did not even (in our home) either need that fish or like it too much to eat, but on  Sundays we would catch few fishes, clean it. cook it and eat it.

My father was not even a passionate fisherman, it was more like simple hanging out time with him, he did not know too much about fishing, and I did not learn too much about fishing methods, types of hooks, baits, knots etc.

But what I learned is that there is fish there, it is easy, more or less to catch it in a very simply way. It can be cleaned, cooked and eaten.

Some of the procedures may not looked nice for a kid, but it was kind of learning how things work in nature and life. There is fish there, and you can catch it, kill it and eat it.

And that’s it.

Nothing too deep in it.

Through my growing up, I learned how to make bread, basics about cooking, fixing things and similar, small first aid things, school system was organized in a way that in primary school we had classes about “civil defense” or basics about defense from the invading force (socialistic system was organized on a way that in case of invasion on the country doctrine of “total war” was supposed to be implemented, so every civilian should become fighter, or similar).

Obligatory army basics was for every grown up male, usually lasting around one year. You were soldier for one year, or “grunt”, and in the military reserves for the rest of your life.

As a result of growing up on that way, I had at least some kind of clue what is going on when SHTF, I mean I know some things. Still I found myself completely overwhelmed with everything that was happening around me: killing, suffering, shootings, violence…

Today

When I sit at the local coffee shop these days, I can see this new generation around me. Generation that is loudest and main candidate actually when it comes to be sheep, or cattle, or cannon fodder(?) if you like.

They main preoccupation is to have a cool type of beard, or to be in the “niche”. Popular is to be in animal rights movement, not because they care about animals, but because it is popular.

The main task of the year is to know what kind of underwear is on their favorite star from the local reality show, which, by the way you do not know is it man or woman, because it is cool like that, it brings ‘mystery’.

For last almost 20 years, serving of mandatory military service stopped, both because of costs and probably as a way to try to “pacifize” our society. To have(own) personal weapon is task that will take you about a year of endless paperwork and checking from the state. The system, in short,  does not want you to own a weapon.

This young generation is screwed when SHTF and we are too, with them.

Great majority of them do not have a clue what is hunting, if you take them fishing they may feel like they are finding and killing Nemo probably. Making sandwich is probably most complicated food preparing procedure they know and so on and so on.

They may think that things like electricity and city services work by some kind of miracle from the thin air, as opposed to a complicated, technical system, which is very fragile.

Their knowledge about possible SHTFs and collapses are learned not from real life stories or experiences, but from the Walking dead TV shows.

If a Zombie apocalypse happens tomorrow they would be crushed just with the absence of wireless connection…

What is all about?

We are been taught (or we think) that progress is endless. That world is going into the directions where violence, diseases, wars, are going to be a matter of history and left to the ‘dark ages’.

At first glance it makes perfect sense that my grandparent knew what kind of tree bark to eat while he was starving in freezing cold in WW2, and later had illegal weapon for ‘just in case’ until the day he died. While on the other end of the story we have young folks who are completely not capable to survive anything without the help of the system.

New ages are coming, age of science and great achievements in every field.

Blah blah.

We are actually living in bubble that is over inflated, and being poked more and more with things like terrorism, economic depression, big migrations, new Cold war, new types of diseases etc.

One day pretty soon that bubble is going to burst and then this new generation will have two choices: either to die in huge numbers, or to look for the resources in a way that looks the ‘most easy’ to them, and that is actually by taking it from another.

And that is actually the real zombie apocalypse! This large number of desperate folks who will ‘swarm’ to and demand the resources of anyone that has the things they ‘need’. We here in the school are always saying, one of the big problems with Urban Survival is the ‘presence of people’. It is very important folks study the types of people they are going to come across in any challenging times ahead…

These are some of my observations on our current generations. As always we love to hear from you all in the comments on your views and experiences. Please do get involved in the discussion below!

 

Myth Busting – Knife Attacks

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I wrote this article as an addition to the (excellent) guest article we recently had on on our blog. I have to say that it is written based on my experience, seeing and dealing with knife attacks and wounds, both during the SHTF and during my work in the medical field.

It is not written scientifically, or based on hard data, it is based on what I saw, or did… what I actually experienced.

Often we find, some same topics are viewed differently by different people, and it is perfectly OK to be like that, but when it is come to knife wounds and killing, in the end a wound is wound and blood is blood.

Knife (blade)

There is something primal (can we say even mythical?) in a knife (blade) and I guess it comes from the fact that it has been used as a killing tool for many centuries, and to be honest, for me it is most scary type of possible fight – to be forced to knife fight.

Having a knife in your hand and ‘pushing’ it into someone’s body is scary thought, it is very personal, on many levels.

As always, thanks to movie industry, people imagine a knife fight is like two guys doing a whole bunch of fancy moves. In reality it is mostly about who pulled their knife first and stick it in to the other guy. (Before other guy had a chance to pull his knife hopefully)

Knife Fighting, Knives and Common Sense

I know there are knife fighting experts out there, but I have never gone through some sort of experts training so I cannot say the full impact of this. But I know that if you are forced to do knife fighting with someone when SHTF and by the chance you have pistol with you, pull the gun and shoot the man twice… forget about ‘honor’ and ‘movies’.

Knife fighting (equal terms) means that you (almost for sure) going to get hurt, get at least a couple of cuts from your opponent. Remember even a small cut when SHTF can kill you.

Accepting the possibility people on the internet will call me an idiot, I must say that choosing your knife (for SHTF) as a weapon ONLY is a HUGE resource waste.

A good knife means a working tool and a weapon.

Also accept there are more usable weapons and tools out there, like an axe for example, in terms of multi –use. A knife plays it’s part in the bigger picture.

What I am trying to say is, do not get yourself to romanticized into a certain type of knife- when it come to stabbing and cutting (in fights) most knives will do the job, with the possible exception of a really cheap one.

When it come to tools, then you should aim to choose the higher quality ones (and multi purpose if possible)

In one period of SHTF, most of the knife fights I saw were done with simple kitchen knives, and I assure you those knives did the job bloody good.

Point here is to have intention, and yes, to have guts for that. The type and style of knife is very much secondary to that…

Always you want to have common sense, and adaptability. For example if you found yourself in situation where a knife is your only weapon maybe it makes sense to make spear out of it, to have some „distance and strength“. You can’t just assume there is only ‘one way’.

Knives, Bleeding and Statistics.

There are numbers and data from years of the research about bleeding and death from knife wounds and blood loss, and it worth your time to read it, to know what is about and what you can expect.

On the other hand there are real life experiences and exceptions for everything, and you need to acknowledge that too.

You could see maybe in movies that if you silently move up on a guy from the rear, put your hand over his mouth and stab him with the knife in his back region or kidneys, he is gonna go down silently in two seconds.

Good luck with that, stabbing someone is actually a very „noisy“ job, and there are variables like; Did you hit correct place? Did you stab or slice? How long and sharp your knife is? etc etc.

On top of all this you must understand you will need do add lot of force to whatever method you use, definitely not like in the movies, people will fight for their life – literally.

Depending of the situation, you could hit the correct place (carotid artery for example) but the wounded guy could still have enough time to strangulate you. I’ve seen it happen. Yes, he will die very fast from massive bleeding from carotid artery – but the point is he could still kill you before that happens.

So you have an option of moving to the guy silently in order to kill him, great, but think, are you going to use your fancy knife in order to cut his carotid artery?

Maybe it can make more sense (and present better odds) to use a big rock and instantly crush his skull, with one strong blow, rather than take the chance of missing an artery and be faced with an alerted enemy with a knife?

If you do not have any good training about how to correctly use a knife, it is simply not very easy to achieve fast, effective kills.

More unpleasant facts about a knife fight is if you want to kill someone with a knife, it is going to be some serious requirement in terms of „working“ with your knife.

For example a simple stab, or even multiple stabs to the abdomen region will eventually kill the man, but not fast enough- it is complete different story if you stab the man and then move your knife around- or dig, gouge and cut if you like. Messy job, but it works like that.

If you need to kill someone with a knife, and you get chance to stab him, you need to be prepared that it will likely take multiple stab wounds. One stab rarely works unless you are really know what you are doing.

The final sad truth is, that during the knife fight, when you get chance to stab your opponent, he is having the same chances to stab you, so there is a very good chance you will be hurt too.

Make sure you are not ‘over simplifying’ you options and training. Many preppers I hear carrying things with them to kill folks or defend themselves. You need to understand your full range of defense options, train with your tools and train with an understanding of the realities of these things in mind.

We discuss the realities of violent encounters a lot and much, much more during our flagship course in Croatia. If you are serious about your training there are still some spaces available.

More details can be seen here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-course-croatia/

Also, I am sure our readers have many great experiences and lessons on this subject to share. Please get involved in the discussion by leaving a comment below…

 

 

Plans Without Preps

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I got asked a great question recently, and thought I would answer it with an article. A reader asks:

„I read your posts for years, I did not find myself survivalist all that time, I have read it because what you wrote about war times and similar… My question is simple, can you give couple of simple advice’s what to do in case of SHTF, without going into „prep for years“ or „build your group for years and store pile of ammo“ advices,  what if SHTF tommorrow and I do not have anything like that“?

At the first it looks like simple question, something that any of us who are into prepping should answer easily, but again we are talking about man who is not into prepping at all.

So what to do?

Whole books are written about this answer, but let’s try to be short and just stick to the basics here.

What Is Going On?

You see that something is happening outside, something big, let’s say you notice that there is an emergency broadcasting on TV, and you see a huge number of law enforcement outside, and other that that you know nothing more.

Now, at this moment, you need to make some important decisions, and you’ll have to make it based on what you know, so clearly the more information you can get, the better you can make decisions.

Two important points here you need to understand are:

1.No matter what is the real reason for your particular SHTF event, there is some common  elements of every SHTF event no matter if it’s terrorist dirty bomb attack, solar EMP or Romulans attacking with spaceships.

Panic, disorder, rumors, looting, chaos. So just do not expect to collect all the info. you want in that moment.

Do not wait to find out what is really happening, or let’s say do not wait to find out why things (shit) are happening. At this moment forget the ‘why’ and act.

2. Collect info. based on your small circle of options. That means (continuing from point A) that you do not need (most probably) to find out why there is looting in street next to you, why there is police force in big number, why there is no TV signal, and why there is big black smoke visible from your office few kilometers away in the city.

What you need to know is how to avoid (and what way to take) looting mob, what kind of force police is using there and what way to travel to avoid that big black smoke.

Do not get me wrong, to know why things are happening is great, but to wait too long to find out is usually bad and it is often way better to solve things in small steps.

What Actually To Do?

Go back to the basics again.  Simply try to stay away from the trouble.

We said that you are not prepper, and you are in the city.

Assess your situation and act.

Your „luck“ probably in that moment is that people will probably look more how to take (steal) LCD TVs or laptops than things for shelter or defense.

Get yourself organized into simple categories, we typically have SEVEN Survival Priorities:

  1. Fire
  2. Shelter
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Communication
  6. Medical
  7. Defense

Try to cover each priority as much as you can.

Again, do not spend too much time in covering each one at the expense of finding yourself in a worse situation.

As you are not prepper, and you might find yourself in the middle of working day in the office when SHTF, look around yourself and see what you can use to cover each of the priorities.

For fire you can have only a lighter maybe, and, for now, you have that priority covered, for water you going to put several bottles of water in your bag.

For shelter you gonna steal a few more jackets, or emergency blanket or trash bags.

For food you’re going to take energy bars from the vending machine, for communications you’re going to take cellphone with you (and hope there is still a signal/network), for medical you are going to „borrow“ the first aid kit from the hallway in your office building, and for defense you will take a couple of knives from the kitchen or simply smash some chair and take a chair leg as an improvised baton.

So all priorities are covered.

Yes it looks poor, but you covered sections with what you got. Improvising and adapting is key here…

Where To Go?

Bug Out or Bug In?

Simply go away from the trouble, that’s it.

We are talking here about city, so huge possibility is that you are going to go outside of the city. More people means more problems.

But first thing to keep in mind is not to run from the city, it is to escape the trouble (think in small circles-steps). Rory Miller says it nicely ‘Don’t run away from danger, run towards safety’.

If that means that you need to hunker down in office building, or in rolled over school bus or wherever in the middle of the city for two days in order to safely leave the city then you are going to do that.

First and immediate task is to stay out of (and avoid) trouble in your goal to leave the city.

Maybe you going to have to spend week hiding somewhere in city, waiting for right moment to leave it. You do not know.

Point is to avoid trouble and adapt your plans accordingly to that.

Rules

Best advice for you is anticipate that there are simply no rules, but some common things for every situations are there, so:

-Stick to your plan up until to the moment when it is more dangerous to follow the plan, then improvise, adapt and modify your plan. Be ready that your plan can fall apart right at the beginning (example: if you plan to leave the city through several pre planned points and streets, and there is danger on the way, you might choose to ‘bend’ your plan and use a longer way instead)

-Violence. Avoid violence, simply like that. Violence means chance to get yourself killed, or injured. Killed means your survival story is ended, and injured means much more trouble than in normal times, remember small cut can kill you in SHTF world.

-Violence, again. When there is no other way then to use violence you have to use it in a quick and effective way, without hesitation, without rules. You’ll think about what you did later, if you have to.

-Things are (probably, or might not be) not what they look like. Police might not be police, law is not law anymore, stealing is not stealing, honor is not honor. Survival changes things.

-Prioritize things. Systemic collapse, especially first period of it, means lot of chaos, that means lot of distractions in your planned action. Always have in your mind what is your priority in the given moment. Getting from point A to point B might look easy today, but when SHTF you may find events problems and obstacles on that way that can fill one lifetime of average peaceful citizen.

Do not find yourself pulled in situations, like say going to the destroyed pharmacy seemed like a good chance to refill your medical kit, but also its a good chance to meet couple of high junkies inside who will stab you. Choose wisely what „distraction“ you will take as a good ‘chance’.

Conclusion

As you can conclude, for non prepper advice would be develop some plan and act. Also that does not mean that plan is to run like an idiot and get yourself killed.

Sometimes what you need is just will to survive, and based on that you will adapt and build your plan.

Have you ever had to deal with a serious situation with no time to prepare for it? Please share your stories and ‘lessons learnt’ in the comments below.

Post Disaster Violence

 

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Today I travel back in my mind. I write a lot about my preparations and assessments since the time I got trapped in my city and views on the future, but I will just now, write some about ‘How It Was’ back in that time. Remember we were all thrown into that situation with no preparation, and found often our allies were our enemies from one day to the next…

Violence is something that people like to talk about, give theories and opinions, but at the same time few of us experience the real ‘deep’ face of violence, being trapped in a prolonged a deteriorating situation.

You may have experienced bar fights, or home invasions maybe, shooting somewhere and similar, and those events can be life changing situations for sure (or life taking) but I am talking here about violence so large scale and long lasting that it brings something like a ‘new way of living’, overwhelming violence that demands a complete change of mindset.

I often hear, and I often agree, that violence cannot solve anything, and that violence only brings more violence, but when you are faced with a man who wants to kill you, you are going to have to probably kill him in order to survive.

I hope that, in this moment, you will not care for philosophy, humanity or ethics, and that you just going do what you have to do, and survive. Later you will cope with other things, it is how things work.

As I get older I realize more and more that violence is wrong thing, but in the same time I also realize that I have to be more and more ready and capable to do violence when the time comes.

It is paradox maybe, but again it is how things works, I do not like that, but it is what it is.

 

 Violence and You

 

It is way too big topic even to try to explain it in one article, but some things I must try to show you here.

There is a man, let’s say we are talking about you here. An average citizen, a law abiding person, and suddenly you are going to be thrown into a (prolonged) situation where you are going be forced to watch and use exceptional levels of violence.

Do you think that you are going to be able to „operate“ in those conditions with the mindset you had from the time where you were average law abiding citizen?

No of course not, you will have to jump into the another mindset in order to survive.

Let’s call it survival mode.

In survival mode you’ll have to not to forget what it was like for you in ‘normal’ times, but you will have to push those memories aside, in order to operate in different mode – survival mode.

In real life situation that means for example that you ll maybe have to ignore panic, fear, smell, noises in the middle of an attack and do your steps in order to survive.

Maybe you’ll have to ignore the screaming dying kid next to you, maybe you’ll have to ignore your pride and run, or simply maybe you’ll have to ignore your „normal“ mindset and you going to have to kill the attacker from behind.

There is list of priorities in normal life, and there is list of priorities in survival mode.

Let just say that you using your different faces and „small“ mindset during your normal life and everyday business with different people around you.

Just like that, when faced with violence you’ll have to use different mindset, different face. Or another you.

 

Violence and Experience

 

There is a strange way of thinking here for me, but since I have live through the time when huge number of people did not die from old age, rather from violence, I have experience in this subject. So here are few thoughts.

Experiencing violence over a prolonged period of time does not make you superman, actually in some way make you crippled man, man with many problems, psychological and physical.

But if I put myself in way of thinking that I am in better position now then people who died next to me, or in front of me. You may call me a winner or survivor but many days that ‘title’ sounds very hollow.

Am I lucky man-yes, am I happy man – no.

But we are not talking in terms of quality of life, we are talking in terms of surviving or not.

Ethics, psychology and everything else here are matter for couple of books to be written, and even then you are not going say anything new, it is like that from beginning of the mankind.

What is more important about having experience in violence is that you simply KNOW how things are working there.

In lot of things you simply know what you can expect.

You know what chaos is, best way of dealing with it, you know what it takes to do things.

 

Preparing for Violence

 

Again nothing like real life experience, when you experience something like real violence you keep that in yourself for the rest of your life. What is best next to that? – other people’s real life experience.

So is it make sense to read about other folks real life experience? Of course, read a lot about that.

Training (physical) yourself is great thing. You’ll train to get yourself into the state that you are (physically) ready for hard tasks. So of course it makes sense to do that.

But training yourself mentally can be a hard thing.

You actually can only guess how it is going to be, how it is going to affect you.

I can tell you that it is hard, chaotic, I can describe you a situation, but can I bring you the feeling of terror in your gut when you feel that you are going to shit yourself? Can I give you smell of fear, smell of decaying body? Can I give you feeling when you realize that „they“ are coming for you?

No of course I cannot. You can read stories and real life experiences and based on that you are going to „build“ your possible mindset for violence situation.

You are going to build your „survival mindset“.

But there is a catch there. If you build it too firm, too strong, and then there is SHTF and everything that you imagined doesn’t fit the given situation or scenario and you are still pursuing and acting in the way that you imagine dealing with it you are going to have serious problems.

The situation will not adapt to your mindset; the situation will kill you if you are sticking too firm to your plan when it is not working.

You simply have to adapt.

It goes for many situation, if your plan and mindset says you are defending your home until you die, you are going to die probably.

Whenever I heard people saying „I’ll do that when SHTF „ or „I’ll do this when SHTF“ I feel sorry for them.

When SHTF you will adapt, and change your given plan accordingly to situation.

It is same with violence.

Violence is a tool that you going to use according to the situation. It is a tool, not a toy.

Now to finish with a final thought. It can sound, from what I have written, that a SHTF situation is like a Mad Max movie. Everyone running around killing, hurting, doing things with no consequences. In fact, this fantasy of a world ‘Without Rule of Law’ (WROL) is a big discussion in some circles.

For sure regular ‘law’ has gone. There are no ‘authorities’ or courts as we know them to deter or punish, BUT, during a SHTF situation you will find:

It is (especially in the beginning) like everything is possible, law is gone, you could go outside and see people looting stores, groups organizing (by street, or other facts like same job in company for example) trying to either defend part of the town, or bring more chaos just for fun, sometimes you could not say what, both could bring violence and death to you. Over time the ‘violence’ becomes more organized and ‘structured’ to start to achieve certain specific goals (although there is always ‘chaos’ as well).

After some time you look at violence you encounter in two ways. Violence happening outside your group, or inside your group (It is quite certain you will need to be in some sort of ‘group’ to stand any chance of surviving).

Outside your Group, you just wish to be very ‘small’, invisible after some time, not pay attention to anyone doing violence to others, because, quite simply you are still alive, and want to stay that way. In terms of “I am still alive, I do not care what they doing to that person, and how bad it is (your will and judging of good and bad is broken, you just care for your own life) it is like you care only for yourself while you are watching how others get killed, no matter that you feel that it is going to come to you in the end (violence) you just care for yourself.

Leaders of the “bad” group (gang) have best chances to stay leader if members fear him, so in fact he is most dangerous, vicious, sick bastard, nothing like a “reasonable” man. (Competition is huge in SHTF) Instilling discipline (through fear) and enforcing ‘your’ rules are paramount to holding your position as leader.

Various groups were interacting with the outside world and each other through fighting, exchange information, trading goods etc, but every group were more or less closed world, with trust only for those inside the group.

Forming of a group was quick mostly, because nobody expected this situation was going to happen, and so were not prepared, but very quickly were literally ‘fighting for survival’. Any problems were solved “on the way” (bad members, not skilled, not obeying etc.) Sometimes through discussion and agreement, but always with the threat of violence as an option.

To finish, and to educate, as opposed to shock you. Many folks cannot think to clear about the level of violence I am describing being involved in. Maybe you think SHTF is just like ‘Black Friday Shopping’ but every day. So let me just give examples of the how far the world I lived in descended from ‘normal’. Remember this was a regular city, in a nice country, in Europe, less than 25 years ago…

-People who never used violence before, doing some ‘hard’ violence: normal people, dads and mums, killing folks in order to save their families.

-Certain groups of people who looks like they are just waited for the SHTF so they can go out (“crawl out from beneath some rock”) so they can fulfill their own fantasies about being kings of the town, imprisoning people, raping women, torturing folks in the weirdest ways…

-Strange groups organizing in whatever the cause they choose name it, again only to gain power in order to have more resources (sometimes simply “gangs” of 50 people, sometimes whole militias of thousands people) through terror over other people or group of people.

-Irrational hate towards “other” (whoever “other” could (or might) be (other religion, group, street, town, nation) because it is very easy to manipulate groups of people through hate and fear (from and towards “others”), if someone manipulate you that your kid is hungry because “others”, he can do a lot with you.

Real life examples I saw:

-People being burned alive inside their homes (And people ‘enjoying’ watching this)

-Private prisons were made where you could go and torture other folks for fun, or simple rape women as a “reward”

-Kids over 13 or 14 years of age were simply “counted” as grown up people, and killed as enemy

-Humiliation of people on all different ways in order to break their will, for example forcing prisoners to have sex between same family (like father and daughter and similar)

-Violence was everyday thing, you could go outside and get shot not because you were ‘enemy’, but only because sniper on other side want to test his rifle.

It is a needed, but depressing realisation, that people, even regular folks can become so cruel, so fast, BUT it is an very important thing to be aware of for anyone truly involved in ‘preparedness’.

As always, its great to hear your comments and experiences on situations where you have had to deal with violence and what lessons you learned from this…

 

“Stay Tuned“

broken-news

„In the last 48 hours, 4 people have died in a local hospital from flu type „xyxz“. Hospital representatives state that there is no reasons for panic, and they have formed a special committee, that will closely monitor the ongoing situation and keep the public informed.

From our anonymous sources, we have found out that 4 more people are in same hospital, currently in a very bad condition. These patients are suffering from the same type of flu virus. Our source states „they (hospital managers) do not know really what’s happening or how dangerous the developing situation is“.

Experts we have contacted, state that people need to protect themselves with masks and avoid public places with large crowds.

Stay tuned…

Our channel will give you latest updates about the situation…“

 What Does it Really Mean?

Imagine this news shows on your local TV station, and background images show people in BIOHAZARD suits carrying some heavy looking objects in big black bags, and a man who is supervising burning a big pile of something.

You are a prepper (obviously) and this news story causes you great concern, you may conclude that it is time to get „out of the town“, go to your Bug Out Location (BOL) wearing your masks, or bio suit if you have it, ready to shoot at whoever may try to stop you.

Nothing too bad with that, if you feel it is time to run, then you run, that’s it…

The likely reality to this ‘story’ though, is that 4 people did die from flu, but just like every year. A huge number of people dying from the same annual flu, mainly older folks with chronic illness (not mentioned by media), or patients in already poor condition.

The Hospital did really form a special committee to take contact with media, simply because the media pushed the hospital staff really hard with a lot of questions about ‘this situation’.

The „Unofficial source“ in these stories is often some guy who wants to have his piece of „fame“ by telling simple fact that there is „more people in the same bad condition“ (just like in any hospital, anywhere, anytime).

The ‘expert’ who the media contacted talked about simple and common sense fact that „you should have mask on and avoid public places“ if you want to stay healthy, and protect against flu or cold or anything similar.

But if you put that statement with background pictures of people carrying big bags in bio suits, the same statement now has a completely different ‘sound’, yes?

You’ll likely find the background pictures were a couple of years old, showing some dead cows being disposed from a local farm, because of cow disease.

The point of this story is not to tell you to ignore ‘news’ if you hear that people start to die locally, but to think first about two key points:

 

  1. Research or try to research what is really going on. Have your sources, or know people (trusted) who have their trusted sources.
  2. Understand that media is usually not there to help us, they are there in order to make more money, and nothing is more cool like big fat headline of ‘dramatic’ news.

 

Sometimes reasons behind running such a story can be really simple and „funny“, like selling 100,000 masks that someone have stored somewhere, or to provide vaccines etc, sometimes it is nothing, just big ‘headline’.

And yes, sometimes it gonna be real. If you do not have other sources then yes, trust your instinct.

But please, do not „stay tuned“ in front of the TV waiting for the next update… Go  research on forums, ask friends, find sources… do something, or just run, just do not „stay tuned“  as popular media understand it.

Timing , Places, Reasons and Examples of (Mis)Information

One of my fears and at the same time an essential ‘decision point’ when I (and you) should go into full survival mode is not when SHTF, but when folks realize that Shit Is really hitting the fan.

From that moment rules are changing, and you can expect anything.

What does that mean?

It is good when you realize, as a prepper, that the SHTF ‘moment’ has occurred, and act accordingly, even if other people did not realize that yet. It is not so good when you realize this fact later, at the same time as the ‘general population’.

I have seen people burning other people houses, sometimes with people inside, just because they like that: They had an expression of joy and happiness on their faces,they wanted to do that for their whole life, but of course they did not had chance for that, simply because system was there to punish them hard even for trying to do similar things.

But they did that and similar things when they realized that SHTF, and there is nobody to punish them.

They enjoyed it.

You want to be there when they realize that?

So, an example would be that you could (and should actually, as a good prepper) realize that SHTF way before those kind of people begin to realize.

Use of that timely information could save your life, the big difference between you (prepper) and a non prepper is that you should have that information before them and react to it.

And you are most probably not going to get that information by using „regular“ media,  at least not in time to have advantage over the other folks, especially bad kind of folks.

You should plan to use the maximum information in the best time, to go into the let’s say „stealth“ survival mode and leave the area, while there is not yet a need to go to the ‘full’ survival mode of needing to do bad things to achieve your objective.

At least that would be the most desirable outcome.

Information and misinformation have value, value of it can rapidly change depending of the timeline when you get it (or give it). Just to repeat ‘valuable information’ is often very ‘time sensitive’.

Let’s say the story from the beginning of the article is true, in that a pandemic is really starting, and you received that information before chaos happened, before everything fell apart, all city services stopped, before people start stampede out of the town.

In that case you could have enough time to easy leave the area to your BOL, or to even stop by the stores and buy everything that you need in case you did not prepared enough.

You know that S. Is going to hit the fan in 3-4 days and you can prepared very well for that, and watch from your BOL how world is going to shit through the chaos.

Or you know that the pandemic ‘news’ is serious misinformation, you could just go and buy huge amount of face masks, and sell it to the folks who think pandemic is really happening if you want to make that kind of money.

In both cases information is valuable because (again) you get it before others did.

(Mis)Information (Rumors), Myths and Fear

Fear is a thing that moves people in different directions. It is natural thing and let’s say that almost everybody has fears or gonna experience fear in some situations.

In terms of SHTF fear can be „coped“ or minimized with activities like training, confidence (in your skills, preparedness etc), or simply some of us gonna experience more fear than others.

One of the biggest fear that I experienced and saw other people going through,  during the SHTF was fear from the unknown.

That „unknown“ was many different things, but most of the time it was induced by lack of the information or wrong information.

What does that mean?

It  works on many levels.

For example, some time after the SHTF, rumors started that poison gases were used in some parts of the region.

You could not point out clear sources who was their or experienced it, but everybody talked about it, and people feared this a lot.

As a result, in one period you could easily „conquer“ one building full of folks by throwing in a smoke grenade only, they all just run of the building in panic.

In some cases people just set rugs on fire in order to make smoke.

Yeah, it sounds stupid now, but what do a bunch of civilians know about poisonous (military) gases and how they look or work?

Fear is big thing.

In your case it can be something else, do not underestimate power of misinformation and fear when you are thrown into the collapse.

When SHTF, myths and rumors take places, because people use it as a advantage. For example in situation when information is planted that 500 armed people coming to your part of the town and that they killing everybody they find.

Or like popular myth, like „fact“ that drinking strong alcohol will help you not to freeze in cold environment.

Local „warlords“ used to plant rumors in order to take business from each other in things like selling smuggled food, or smuggling people out of the town in exchange for gold.

In among all this you will also be strongly tempted to lie to yourself, by telling yourself that everything is going to be OK, things are not going to go to shit because the  world cares what is going on, and little babies can not die because lack of simple medicines at the end of 20 century.

As a conclusion, false and real information are there before and after the SHTF.

And it is weird, but sometimes it is harder to find good info. in „normal times“.

Point is that you need to follow what is going on, but not just run for the information, rather to carefully choose and check every piece of it.

When SHTF you are gonna work based on small pieces and bits of info’s, and errors are gonna happen, you cannot avoid it.

What you can avoid is your need to trust in some information simply because you are too well prepared for that.

You are gonna know how to survive in the cold and be ready for that. You are gonna know what are the poisonous gases and how they work, or simply you are gonna have your small garden somewhere and you are not gonna have a need to go and check some suspicious info about guy who is selling food somewhere.

Preparing is (again) the key, and in many scenarios Knowledge truly is ‘Power’.

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day Carry (EDC) Foundation Concepts

Every Day Carry

We all routinely carry certain items with us, either out of necessity and/or habit. Even the shortest journey out of home or work place triggers an instinctive check of pockets and bags: do I have my phone? keys? wallet? By logical extension, those of us who analyze and assess external influences on our lifestyle, normally have additional items in our routine carry checklist, and it is these objects that tend to be classified as EDC items. We discuss EDC a lot in our in depth online survival course.

The concept is far from new and should not be intimidating, although some zealots of particular EDC items can come across a little strong in their discussions and guidance.

An identifiable generalized trend in Urban Preparedness, Wilderness Survival and even EDC, is the obsession with and reliance on ‘lists’. I get the distinct impression that for most people purchasing items from a recommended list of “things to carry”, is far easier and less time consuming and gives a quick ‘sense of peace’.

With this in mind, why would I have a concern over the ‘list trend’? My issue is this: if we look to the founding concepts of EDC, we realize that arbitrarily following a list does not necessarily give us the protection and peace of mind we desire, in fact, in some circumstances, it may put us at more risk depending on what and how we carry.

The aim of this article is to run through what I regard as the foundation concepts and therefore key considerations on items we carry.

There are three key category headers to consider:

  1. Stowage – Where/How are we carrying
  2. What items are we carrying
  3. What should be the demands and expectation of our equipment

Let’s expand on these:

1) Stowage

Whatever we decide to carry must be carried in a manner that does not excessively confine or restrict our movement, ensures the items are held securely, but allows them to be accessed as needed (and this may be exceptionally time sensitive, especially in regard to any defensive items).

Most militaries will define individual equipment scales (also known as ‘loadouts’) right from basic training. The concept is simple; there are 4 scale/load levels:

Level 1 – Items carried on your person AT ALL times. In the military these would be items carried in your pockets, affixed to your belt or worn on your person e.g morphine syrettes worn on a neck chain. This translates directly to civilian standards. Our level 1 items would be keys, phone, wallet, personal defensive items etc.

Level 2 – These are items that are always within arm’s reach, but maybe removed from the body. In military terms, this would be your weapons system and ‘fighting order’, (Body Armour, Assault Vest or equivalent). Fighting orders revolve around the necessity to carry ammunition, water, emergency medical equipment and some key survival items.

This again can be easily translated for civilian application with the exception being the method for carrying items, since a military style webbing system may not be an appropriate choice in most cases. More likely, essential items are going to be stowed in a fanny pack, small shoulder bag (e.g laptop bag) or purse/manbag. Consideration also needs to be given to the type of clothes we are wearing and what stowage options are afforded to us by these.

Level 3 – These are items needed for extended operations (>12hrs), but maybe stowed during attack/assault phases of operations. Normally this larger pack (Ruck or Bergen) will contain additional supplies (ammunition, batteries), food, sleeping system, field equipment (shelter, wash kit, stove, additional clothing items etc).

For those who have given consideration to larger scale preparedness, level 3 is the equivalent of a ‘Bug Out’ bag. The intention here is to carry the essential items to sustain the individual for a period of up to 72hrs. This bag is normally stowed in a vehicle or at home/in the office, as opposed to being constantly carried.

There is a lot written about what constitutes the ‘ultimate’ Bug Out Bag, but often, in my mind, there is WAY too much equipment advised to be carried at this level, and this is where the dangers of ‘the list’ really begin to manifest themselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t advocates of burdensome carry at level 1 and 2 also! We will look to avoid the ‘over burden’ problem in the next section.

Level 4 – These are typically ‘on base’ level items, which can be kept in a trunk, locker, in barracks or equivalent.

In EDC terms, level 4 will be items we potentially have stored at home for replacement or supplementation of regular EDC items if needed.

2) What Items are We Carrying

Remember we are addressing at a conceptual level here, so what must be considered with regard to our item choices? I believe there are 4 essential considerations:

a) Individual – Who are you, what do you do, what’s your build, what’s your fitness level, are you carrying long term injuries or mobility problems, are you carrying for you individually or also on behalf of other family members? Answers to all these questions are going to significantly influence what you carry and how.

b) Competencies – What is your skill set, what is your level of training (especially in regard to any defensive items you are carrying), what is your experience in dealing with unexpected situations? The adage ‘the more you know the less you carry’ is often quite true. The greater your training, skill and experience level, the less likely you are going to carry equipment to ‘substitute’ your knowledge.

c) Concerns – This is one of the most critical, but also, in my mind, one of the most overlooked. What are you actually concerned in terms of personal safety? Or more pointedly, what are you preparing for? If we can’t specify our goal it is incredibly difficult to work back from that point to identify our equipment needs. Equally if we can clearly identify our goal(s) it is far easier to select our EDC items.

d) Environment – How is your physical environment (hot, cold, urban, rural), what potential threats or hazards are contained in your environment? Again clear assessment and identification of which hazards we want to avoid and/or mitigate is going to be influential on EDC selection.

3) Demands on our equipment

The final part of our Foundation Concepts is to address what demands we have from our equipment. I have identified 5 key considerations in this regard. Before I begin I just want to clarify, it is very rare you will find an item that fulfills all 5 of these considerations. Think of it as ‘ticking the boxes’, an item that scores 4 out of 5 of these points will have a greater chance of making it on to my EDC than carrying an item that scores say 2 out of 5:

a) Fulfills an Essential Function – It is VERY easy to get loaded down with superfluous or overly specialized gear. In the first instance, EDC is about carrying small items that make a BIG difference. Investigate every piece of equipment and make sure you are carrying it because it’s essential.

b) Difficult to Replicate In Your Environment – This is coming from my ‘wilderness rules’. Being in a town or city means, in theory, everything is available to us if we are willing to purchase it, but that is not always a financially viable or stable approach. What I mean here is be careful not to load yourself down with items that can easily be scavenged if you needed to. I expand on this more here:

c) Multifunctional – Some items may clearly have more than one use (e.g. Multitool), however with some creative thinking, we may come up with multiple uses for even the most banal items we carry. This is a great mental exercise and also a good way of really pairing down your gear if you feel you are currently carrying too much.

d) Legal – Given the increasing level of ‘stop and search’ powers afforded to the police throughout western nations, as well as enhanced security screening in many public locations, the chances of being ‘caught’ and prosecuted for carrying illegal items, plus the fact it’s erm, y’know illegal, means we should not be so foolish as to carry anything that is not legally allowed. Ignorance of the law is no excuse here. Get informed. Also understand, there are many, many, legal alternatives to items that maybe banned. This takes us back to our ‘training and competence’ development.

e) Discreet – I am a firm believer in the ‘Grey Man’ theory. You may want to walk around primed for imminent apocalyptic action, just don’t look like you are. Blending with your environment is something you want to and should be able to do. EDC item selection and carry methods can greatly help or hinder this process.

With a clear understanding and grasp of these foundation concepts, it should be easier to carry EDC items more suited to us and our situation, rather than carrying generic items from a different individual´s list. This makes us not only more prepared, but more informed and therefore confident in the equipment we are carrying.

In subsequent articles I will be going through some of my personal carry items and going into more detail on how these foundation concepts relate. All of this said, the final note is to know and understand EDC needs to be fluid and dynamic, making it easy for us to change, amend, add or remove items as we see necessary in changing circumstances. This will also be covered in more detail soon.

Does this article give you thought on things you may change about your EDC? If so, comment below on the what, why and how of your changes! If you are still unsure what to pack, you can always get more guidance in our Survival Boot Camp.